Another New Year

By Niki Tovin

 As I stand here, this morning, on the bimah preparing to listen to the ancient sound of the Shofar welcoming in another new year. My thoughts are of the journey that brought me to this moment. 

In 1980, my husband’s career necessitated our relocation to Chicago. Needless to say, it was difficult leaving our two sons, dear friends, and our beloved home in the rolling hills of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, to head towards a city unfamiliar to me located somewhere between the east and west coasts. To my delight, I soon discovered that Chicago was a beautiful city located on the shore of the amazing Lake Michigan. With world class museums, along with highly acclaimed symphony, dance, and theater companies. But, best of all, the people warmly embraced us and introduced us to Chicago Sinai Congregation that to this day enrich our lives. Looking back at my first high Holy Day service at Sinai, I immediately felt comfortable being with this unique and historic congregation seeing people of all ages and diverse backgrounds praying together. In my mind, truly reflected Sinai’s philosophy “a house of prayer for all people” this combined with the distinctive music of the organ combined with the voices of the professional and member choirs was beautiful and inspiring. Thank you, Scott.

I enjoyed Sinai’s updated Union Prayer Book which effectively preserved the past and embraced the use of contemporary language and gender realities. “I have always admired the understated and distinctive architecture of our sanctuary and the contemporary design of the stained glass windows. There are times, during the service, when the sun filters through the glass windows, filling the room with a mystical blue haze. In this setting, surrounded by friends, who are now family to me and listening to the words of our rabbis that I truly feel a sense of my religious heritage. Now, we’re about to hear the haunting sound of the Shofar blown by my dear friend, Carol Miller. I’m certain in future years when I think back to this day it will be my most cherished High Holy Day memory because I share friends that I deeply love and admire. 

View Sinai’s 5783 Rosh HaShanah service sheet by clicking here.

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